Some people make them. Some make a point of not making them. Many people break them, and that's what this guide is for. The Resolution Handbook is your mid-January dose of inspiration to help you stay on track, try new things to acheive your goals and above all be kind to yourself both inside and out.
Happy New Year!
You've heard it before: The best way to stick to your exercise resolve is to find something you actually enjoy. Once it turns into a grueling routine, you're more likely to ditch it. Some people can log hours/days/weeks on a treadmill or elliptical machine, but for those of us who need more stimulation to adhere to a fitness regimen, here are some ideas.
Nia, an acronym for Neuromuscular Integrative Action, sounds like an intimidating clinical procedure, but in actuality, it might be the most fun workout you've had standing up. A hybrid of modern dance and martial arts (tai chi, tae kwan do, and aikido) with yoga poses mixed in, each class is a unique experience choreographed to exceptionally groovy music that encourages movement, fluidity, and expression. Carrie Peters leads weekly Nia classes including the popular Saturday morning one at Dance Mission Theater. When was the last time you found yourself simultaneously sweating and smiling? (OK, don't answer that; I meant in public.) When you're at a Nia class, you're encouraged to look around, and feel the energy of the other dancers while you explore your body's natural rhythm. You'll notice smiles on the faces of your fellow dancers as they sashay around the room. Unlike the punishing step aerobic classes of the '80s and '90s, Nia stresses compassion toward self and the body. The movement is done barefoot à la Isadora Duncan. Dance steps are easy to pick up, and at times you're instructed to freestyle, which can look a bit like a Grateful Dead concert but feels really good. The blend of East and West results in a cardiovascular workout with strong, empowering martial arts moves, graceful spine-lengthening stretches, and touches of playfulness and whimsy. Carrie Peters teaches at the Embarcadero YMCA (169 Steuart at Howard 391-9622) and Dance Mission Theater (3316 24th St. at Mission, 826-4441). Check out her Web site at www.bodysamadhi.net. For more information about Nia and to find other classes in the area, go to www.nia-nia.com.
Go climb a wall! Mission Cliffs is an indoor climbing gym with 14,000 sq. ft. of climbing terrain, a 50-ft.-high lead wall, and 2,000 sq. ft. of dual-level bouldering. It looks like another planet. They offer instruction in belay safety for beginners, private lessons for the more advanced to perfect technique, and monthly clinics on bouldering, lead climbing, crack climbing, and preparing for the outdoors. Once you've mastered basic safety, anchors, knots, and rappelling, take it outside with one of their outdoor climbing workshops -- Rock I, Rock II, and Intro to Bouldering. Mission Cliffs also has a complete weight room and saunas. Mission Cliffs: 2295 Harrison@ 19th St., 550-1515, www.touchstoneclimbing.com.
Are you a joiner looking for weekend fun? If so, consider Bay Area Outdoor Adventures, a club for "over-worked, under-played professionals" looking for a hassle-free way to get out and play. Activities include a beach horseback ride and barbecue, winter camping and backpacking in Lassen, cave crawling and rappelling at Moaning Caverns, an Año Nuevo seal walk, and a canoe tour of Sonoma. The Outdoor Adventure Club also organizes vacations like trekking in Patagonia, horseback riding in Chile, or the ultimately exotic Kilimanjaro climb and safari. Closer to home, the OAC cabin in Tahoe is open to members until April 6. Weekend trips to the cabin include lodging, meals, discounted lift tickets, Jacuzzi access, and a carpool list to help get you there. Bay Area Outdoor Adventures: 954-7190, www.sfoac.com.
For the ladies, Adventurous Woman Sports offers classes and "fun days" from samba to scuba. Patient female instructors teach classes and clinics in fencing, mountain biking, fly fishing, sailing, and snowboarding and lead excursions like outrigger canoe trips on the Bay. It's not
all for the girls though. Programs including golf at Pebble Beach and a trail ride and wine tasting at Garrod Stables in Saratoga are coed. Adventurous Woman Sports: 800-80-WOMAN, www.adventurous.com.
When I was little, "dance" meant ballet and tap. If you got really crazy, you could go for jazz or modern. OK, I grew up in a really white suburb. Fortunately we live in a culturally diverse city where dance means salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip hop groove, Afro-Brazilian, hula, Afro-Haitian, flamenco, rumba, swing, break dancing and belly dancing. Rhythm & Motion Dance Center offers a roster of dance classes that blows the little studio in my hometown away. Classes are organized into categories like "Dances of the African Diaspora," "Partner/Social Dance," "Global/World Dance," and "Hip Hop, Jazz and Tap." Popular and high energy, the "Dance Workout" and "Essential Rhythms" classes draw on hip hop, Latin, and African movement and are structured to include a warm-up; cardio, leg, arm, and abdominal work; and a cool-down. Also offered are kids' classes, yoga, and 8-to 10-week dance workshops. If you're unemployed and want to dance away the blues, contact their work-exchange program and trade your flyering skills for a flamenco class.Another studio, Dance Mission Theater, offers classes like hip hop, rhumba, Afro-Cuban folkloric, and break dancing. Here you can also explore Wushu martial arts, Nia, capoeira, and Feldenkrais. Or stick to the classics -- ballet, tap, jazz, and modern. Check their Web site for events and performances. Rhythm & Motion Dance Center: 1133 Mission (between 7th & 8th Sts.), 621-0643, www. rhythmandmotion.com. Dance Mission Theater: 3316 24th St. (at Mission), 826-4441, www.dancemission.com.